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TikTok files suit in US federal court after the state of Montana decided to implement an overall ban on the app

TikTok has filed a lawsuit in US federal court against the state of Montana, which recently decided to implement a complete ban on the video-sharing app. The lawsuit argues that the ban, scheduled to begin in 2024, violates the protected right to free speech under the constitution.

TikTok stated in the court filing that they are challenging the unconstitutional ban imposed by Montana in order to protect their business and the hundreds of thousands of TikTok users in the state. A spokesperson for TikTok expressed confidence in their legal challenge, citing strong precedents and facts.

The governor of Montana, Greg Gianforte, signed the ban into law on May 17, claiming that it aims to safeguard Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party. TikTok, however, argued in its lawsuit that the state has imposed these extraordinary measures based on unfounded speculation.

In addition to TikTok’s lawsuit, five TikTok users also filed their own lawsuit seeking to overturn Montana’s ban, asserting that it violates their free speech rights. Both lawsuits argue that the state is encroaching on national security powers that are exclusive to the federal government, as well as infringing on free speech rights.

TikTok is asking the federal court to declare Montana’s ban illegal and prevent the state from enforcing it, claiming that the ban infringes on the company’s and users’ First Amendment rights. The ban is set to take effect on January 1. The lawsuit filed by TikTok users draws a parallel, stating that Montana cannot ban its residents from accessing or posting on TikTok any more than it could ban a newspaper based on its ownership or published ideas.

TikTok, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, has faced allegations from US politicians of being controlled by the Chinese government and used for spying, which the company denies. The app is widely used by over 150 million Americans, including hundreds of thousands of active users in Montana, where the ban would impact around 1.1 million residents.

Reports suggest that Montana could impose fines of $10,000 for each TikTok violation and additional daily fines of $10,000 for non-compliance with the ban. However, it remains unclear how the state would enforce a ban on TikTok.


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